Local Breweries and Taprooms Team Up for the First-Ever Hawai‘i Craft Beer Week
Events, tastings and collaborations, including a festival and some friendly competition, take place Feb. 21–29 across the Islands. Here’s your guide of what to expect.
Hawai‘i Craft Beer Week is coming! From Friday, Feb. 21 to Saturday, Feb. 29, members of the Hawaiian Craft Brewers Guild will showcase their breweries and beer at events across the Islands.
On Feb. 21, Waikīkī Brewing Co. will release its first collaboration with Lion Coffee: Roaring Lion Imperial Stout. Available at both brewery locations, it is a “huge monster of a beer at almost 11% ABV,” or alcohol by volume, says brewmaster Joe Lorenzen, “black as a moonless night and full of roasty aroma and flavor from the Lion Coffee French roast we married into the brew.” Also look for Waikīkī Brewing and Hana Koa Brewing’s collaboration called Unsteady Hands Double IPA, a Pink Boots Society brew day, and other new beers on tap later in the week.
Friday evening, Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room at Salt will be hosting a collaboration party with Hana Koa Brewing Co. Village owner Tim Golden and Josh Kopp, brewmaster of Hana Koa, bonded over a love of lagers. When discussing the event and what to brew, Golden says he almost “jumped out of his pants” at the prospect of brewing a lager. Golden, along with Village beer-slingers Christian Freepartner and Ryan Stos, went to Hana Koa and worked with Kopp’s team to create the Village X Hana Koa Crush Helles, a a 100% Hallertauer hopped German style beer using Munich malt and a splash of honey malt. This event will be Hana Koa’s first time pouring its beer outside its own brewery. The special release is only 5% ABV, so, Golden insists, “you’re supposed to drink a few!”
For those looking for an interactive experience, Lanikai Brewing Co. in Kailua is hosting a Collaboration Beer Learn to Brew event on Saturday, Feb. 22. A small group will have the opportunity to make a beer at the commercial brewery with professional brewers on hand. Advanced $50 ticket purchase is required, as the group recipe will be discussed before the brew day. Included in the price are three bomber bottles of the finished beer, as well as a draft pour. Steve Haumschild, the owner and brewmaster of Lanikai Brewing, envisions the event as “just a good time. Brewing is brewing no matter if it’s home-brewing or pro-brewing. It’s the same process. So we hope it’s a cool experience to be able to brew on a commercial system and hits the spirit of Hawai‘i Craft Beer Week.”
What’s collaboration without a little friendly competition? Also on Saturday, Feb. 22, Honolulu Beerworks in Kaka‘ako will host the Beerworks Beerbowl 2020, featuring the “Townies” Battle of the IPAs. Beerworks, along with Bent Tail Brewing, Hana Koa Brewing, Waikīkī Brewing, Aloha Beer Co. and Beer Lab will be submitting IPAs, which will be on tap all day. To be a judge, order the “Townie” flight, with each beer blindly presented, and vote for the best. At 6 p.m., two firkins, made by winners of a photo contest, will be tapped; vote for your favorite to help select first prize. At 7 p.m., experts from all the participating breweries will be duking it out in a three-game battle of “Beer Trivia,” “Who Nose Their Hops?” and “Stein Strength.” Awards for all the events will be announced at 10 p.m.
The grand finale of the week is the second annual Craft Beer Festival at the Bishop Museum on the Great Lawn. Cindy Goldstein, executive director of the Hawaiian Craft Brewers Guild, says that “only 5% of the beer consumed in Hawai‘i is made in our state. We can do better than that!” This is the only beer festival with 100% Hawai‘i-made beer. Tickets are available in advance and will also be sold at the door. VIP tickets ($60) allow for early entry at 5 p.m., with general admission ($45) at 6 p.m.; both include unlimited beer. Brewers, owners and representatives will be around to talk story. Each will bring a selection of beers with the theme of Hawai‘i agriculture and ingredients. Designated Driver tickets ($10) include unlimited soft drinks such as Maui Brewing Co.’s line of locally made sodas. Food will be available for purchase from local vendors.
Keep an eye out for special tapping events, fundraisers and beer pairing dinners around the state. Go to hawaiibeer.org for updates.